The 2016 Literary Supplement

Lahore's melancholy

Poetry ❖ Written by : Alainah AamirOnline extra

They have circumcised my city
and suddenly it is an unfamiliar shade of a colour
I vaguely remember

Now everywhere I go,
clean wisdom tooth voids ricochet in the streets
I built a time machine with the mere scent of nicotine and it takes me back
to rickety tables and conversations of cheating fathers –

I quite liked the emptiness of fooling myself long enough to believe
he could wash away Lahore’s melancholy.

So when he walked away
I patiently reminded myself he is not God
and maybe God meant for the cars by the mirages,
slow like summer evenings,
to drive me to the kind of suicide you can come back from if you close your eyes long enough

I returned but by then they had left already,
a could-have-been chance encounter with the
could-have-been love of your life

I promise I am the most beautiful woman in the universe,
and you do not know it yet but you will spend your life
searching for someone to fill the void I left,
in mediocre men and idle ideals
but you will not.

You will only realize when I am a solar system away,
I know I did.

Now I meander across Lahore’s roads
and it is strange how empty they are at this time of night.

I would like to believe enough monsoons can make this city redeemable,
but optimism has its dalliance with disappointment.

You see,
it is easy enough to book a one-way ticket to take you across the world,
but you never quite know what you are leaving behind.